TITLE V. BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER I. Legislative Branch
The legislative branch exercises itself through a Congress of Representatives, who shall be elected by direct vote. It shall convene in the capital of the Republic in regular sessions on the twenty-fifth of January of each year without the necessity of convocation and shall adjourn its sessions on the thirty-first of October of the same year.
The sessions may be extended for such time as may be necessary, by a resolution of Congress upon the initiative of one of more of its members or at the request of the Executive Branch.
Recesses shall be determined by its internal regulations.
The National Congress shall also hold special sessions:
- At the request of the Executive Branch;
- When convoked by its Permanent Committee; and
- Whenever half plus one of its members so agree.
In such cases it shall deal only with matters that caused the respective decree of convocation.
Five or more Representatives may convoke the National Congress into special sessions anywhere in the Republic whenever the Executive, another authority, force majeure or an act of God prevent the installation of Congress or the holding of its meetings.
For the installation of the National Congress and the holding of its meetings a quorum of half plus one of its members shall be sufficient.
Neither the National Congress itself nor any other authority of the State or private parties may prevent the installation of Congress, the holding of its meetings or order its dissolution.
Violation of this provision constitutes a crime against the powers of the government.
On January 21st the Representatives shall meet in preliminary meetings, and with the attendance of at least five members, the Provisional Directorate shall be organized.
On January 23 the Representatives shall meet to hold their final preliminary meeting to elect the permanent directorate.
The President of the National Congress shall remain in office for a period of four years and shall be the President of the Permanent Committee.
The rest of the directorate shall remain in office for two years.
Representatives shall be elected for a term of four years, counted from the date on which the National Congress is formally installed. In the event of the permanent absence of a Representative, the alternate called by the National Congress shall complete his term.
Representatives are under obligation to meet in assembly on the dates indicated in this Constitution and to attend all sessions of Congress except in case of duly proven incapacity.
Deputies whose absence or unjustified abandonment of the sessions cause a lack or a break of quorum shall be expelled from Congress and shall lose the right to run for public office for ten years.
To be elected Representative, the following is required:
- To be Honduran by birth
- To be at least twenty-one years of age;
- To be in the exercise of the rights of citizenship;
- To be a layman, and
- To have been born in the department for which he is running for office or to have resided therein for at least the last five years prior to the date of convocation of the elections.
The following may not be elected Representatives:
- The President of the Republic and Presidential Designates of the Republic;
- Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice;
- Secretaries of the Cabinet and Deputy Secretaries;
- Chiefs of the military service with national jurisdiction;
- Holders of high office in the direction, government, or administration of the decentralized institutions of the State;
- Members of the military service, on active duty, members of security forces and any other armed force;
- All other public officials or public employees of the executive branch and the judicial branch as established by law, except those who hold a teaching or health-care position;
- Justices of the Supreme Elections Tribunal and the Director and sub-directors of the National Registry of Persons
- The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, members of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts, General Prosecutor of the Republic and Adjunct General Prosecutor Attorney for the Environment, the Superintendent of Concessions and the National Commissioner of Human Rights.
- The spouse and relatives to the fourth degree of consanguinity and second of affinity of those named in paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 8, and 9 above, and of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet for the Departments of Defense and Public Safety.
- The spouse and relatives of the chiefs of military zones, commanders of military units, departmental or sectional military representatives, and representatives of security forces or of any other armed force, within the fourth degree of consanguinity or second degree of affinity, when these individuals are candidates for office in the department where they exercise jurisdiction;
- Holders of State concessions for the exploitation of natural resources or contractors for public services and works paid for with state funds and who have accounts pending with the state;
- Delinquent debtors of the National Treasury.
These incompatibilities and disabilities shall affect those holding the above-mentioned positions six months prior to the election.
Buildings and facilities of the National Congress are inviolable. It is the duty of the President of the Directorate or of the Permanent Committee to authorize the entrance of members of the public security forces when circumstances so require.
The National Congress shall be formed by a fixed number of one hundred and twenty-eight principal Representatives and their respective alternates, who shall be elected in accordance with the Constitution and the Law.
The Representatives shall be representatives of the people, their departmental distribution shall be made on the basis of the quotient given by the Supreme Elections Tribunal, in accordance with the electoral law and the political organizations.
In those departments that have a population less than the quotient given by the Supreme Elections Tribunal, a principal Representative and his respective alternate shall be elected.
Representatives in office may not obtain remunerated public positions during the term for which they have been elected, except teaching and cultural positions and professional services related to social welfare.
They may, however, be Secretaries of the Cabinet or Deputy Secretaries, Presidents or Managers of decentralized institutions, Chiefs of Diplomatic or Consular Missions, or serve in ad hoc diplomatic missions. In such cases they will be reinstated in the National Congress upon the termination of these functions.
Alternate deputies may hold public positions or employment without their acceptance or exercise causing loss of their status as alternates.
No Representative may hold state property as a lessee directly or indirectly, or obtain contracts or concessions of any kind from the state.
Violation of this provision shall render the act absolutely null by operation of law.
The National Congress shall have the following powers:
- To make, enact, interpret, amend, and repeal laws;
- To convoke, suspend and close its sessions;
- To adopt its internal regulations of the legislative branch and impose the penalties established therein for those who violate them;
- To convoke special sessions in accordance with this Constitution;
- To incorporate its members in accordance with their credentials and to receive the constitutional oath from them;
- To call the alternate Representatives, in case of permanent or temporary absence or legitimate impediment of the principals, or when the latter refuse to attend;
- To count the votes and declare the election of the President, Presidential Designates, and Representatives to the National Congress, and to the Central American Parliament, and the members of the municipal corporations whenever the Supreme Elections Tribunal has not done so.
- To accept or refuse to accept the resignation of Representatives for justifiable cause;
- To elect for the corresponding term, and from the nominee pool of candidates proposed by the Nominating Board referred to in this Constitution, the Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice.
- To interpret the Constitution of the Republic in ordinary sessions in one legislature, with two thirds of the votes of the totality of its members. Through this process constitutional articles 373 and 374 may not be interpreted.
- To elect the members of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts, Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, Justices of the Supreme Elections Tribunal, General Prosecutor of the Republic and Adjunct General Prosecutor, Attorney for the Environment, and Deputy Attorney for the Environment, National Commissioner for Human Rights, Superintendent of Concessions, Director and Deputy Director of the National Registry of Persons.
- To receive the constitutional oath of the President of the Republic and Presidential Designates of the Republic declared elected, and of any other officials it elects; to grant them leave of absence, and accept or refuse to accept their resignations; and to fill vacancies in case of the permanent absence of any of them;
- To grant or deny permission to the President of the Republic and Presidential Designates to leave the country for more than fifteen days;
- To move the seat of the state powers for serious reasons.
- To realize impeachment in accordance with the process established in the Special Law of Impeachment for public servants and for reasons established in Article 234 of this Constitution.
- To grant amnesty for political offenses or related common offenses, except in such cases the National Congress may not make decisions on pardons;
- To grant or refuse permission to Hondurans to accept employment or decorations from another State;
- To award prizes and grant temporary privileges to authors and inventors and to persons who have introduced new industries of public benefit or who have improved those already existing;
- To approve or disapprove contracts that involve fiscal exemptions, incentives, and concessions, or any other contract that is to take effect or continue to be valid in the following period of government of the Republic;
- To approve or disapprove the administrative conduct of the executive branch, the judicial branch and the Supreme Elections Tribunal, the Superior Tribunal of Accounts, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, the Office of the Attorney for the Environment, Public Ministry, Office of the National Commissioner of Human Rights, National Registry of Persons, decentralized institutions and other Auxiliary and Special Institutions of the State.
- To appoint special committees to investigate matters of national interest. The summons of such committees shall be compulsory under the same penalty of contempt as the one used in the judicial process;
- To question Secretaries of the Cabinet and other officials of the central government, decentralized institutions, state enterprises and any other entities in which the state has an interest, concerning matters related to the public administration;
- To declare a restriction or suspension of rights in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, and to ratify, modify, or disapprove the restriction or suspension enacted by the executive branch according to law;
- To confer all ranks from Major to Division General, at the proposal of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, by the initiative of the President of the Republic;
- To fix the number of permanent members of the armed forces;
- To authorize or refuse the passage of foreign troops through the national territory;
- To authorize the executive branch to order troops of the armed forces leave the country to serve in foreign territory, in accordance with international treaties and conventions;
- To declare war and to make peace;
- To authorize the admission of foreign military missions of technical assistance or cooperation in Honduras;
- To approve or disapprove international treaties signed by the executive branch;
- To create and abolish posts and to award honors and pensions for significant services to the nation;
- To adopt annually the General Budget of Revenues and Expenditures, on the basis of the proposal submitted by the executive branch, duly itemized and to decide on modifications;
- To approve annually the duly itemized Budget of Revenues and Expenditures of decentralized institutions;
- To determine the weight, fineness, and rate of the national currency and the standard of weights and measures;
- To levy taxes, assessments, and other public charges;
- To approve or disapprove loans and similar agreements related to the public credit, entered into by the executive branch.In order to contract foreign loans, or loans that although contracted in Honduras must be financed with foreign capital, the approval of the National Congress shall be required for the respective project;
- To establish by law, those cases in which subsidies and aid may be granted for purposes of public benefit or as an instrument of economic and social development;
- To approve or disapprove the liquidation of the General Budget of Revenues and Expenditures of the Republic and of the budgets of the decentralized and devolved institutions. The Superior Tribunal of Accounts shall rule on these liquidations and resume its vision of the efficiency and efficacy of the Management of the Public Sector, which shall include the evaluation of spending, organization, fulfillment of management and reliability of the control of internal audits, the accounting plan and its application;
- To regulate the payment of the national debt, at the initiative of the executive branch;
- To exercise control over the public revenues;
- To authorize the executive branch the alienation of national property or its application to public uses;
- To authorize ports of entry, and establish and abolish customhouses and free trade zones, at the initiative of the executive branch;
- To regulate maritime, land and air trade;
- To establish the national symbols, and
- To exercise any other powers conferred upon it by this Constitution and other laws.
The functions of the legislative branch are not delegable except that of the taking of the constitutional oath of office of high government officials, in accordance with this Constitution.
Before closing its sessions, the directorate of the National Congress shall appoint nine principal members and their respective alternates who shall form the Permanent Committee during the adjournment of the National Congress.
The powers of the Permanent Committee are the following:
- To render its internal regulations;
- To render opinions and complete the steps left on business that is left pending, so that they may be considered at the next legislative session;
- To prepare, for submission to the National Congress for consideration, proposed projects for changes in the laws that in its opinion the needs of the country may demand;
- To receive from the executive branch the enactments of the last ten days of sessions of the National Congress, duly signed;
- To receive complaints of violations of this Constitution;
- To keep in its custody and under its responsibility the files of the National Congress;
- To publish an edition of all decrees and resolutions enacted by the National Congress at its previous sessions, within three months following its adjournment;
- To convoke the National Congress for special sessions, at the request of the executive branch or whenever the exigent circumstances so require;
- To receive from the executive branch the documentation and information relative to economic agreements, credit operations, or loans that that branch plans to enter into, authorize, or contract, in order to give detailed information to the National Congress at its next session;
- To submit to the National Congress a detailed report of its work during its period of its performance;
- To elect ad interim, in case of absolute default, the replacements for officials who must be appointed by the National Congress;
- To call in other Representatives as members, to fill vacancies in the membership of the Committee;
- To grant or deny permission to the President and Presidential Designates of the Republic to leave the national territory for more than fifteen days;
- To name special committees that it deems necessary, formed by members of the National Congress.
- To perform any other duties conferred on it by the Constitution.
The Special Disbursement Office of the legislative branch is hereby created to attend to the payment of all expenditures of the branch.
The Special Disbursement Office of the legislative branch shall be immediately subordinate to the directorate of the National Congress or to the Permanent Committee, as may be appropriate.
The directorate of the National Congress is responsible for appointing the paymaster, who must furnish bond in accordance with the law.
The executive branch shall include in the General Budget of Expenditures and Revenue of the Republic the funds budgeted by the legislative branch for its functioning.
The General Treasury of the Republic shall in make advance quarterly authorization of the funds necessary to meet the expenditures of the National Congress.
CHAPTER II. ENACTMENT, SANCTION AND PROMULGATION OF LAWS
Representatives to the National Congress and the President of the Republic, through the Secretaries of the Cabinet, as well as the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Electoral Tribunal, in matters within their jurisdiction, and numbers of at least 3,000 citizens through the mechanism of citizen initiative have the exclusive right to introduce bills.
No bill shall be finally voted upon until after it has been debated three times, taking place on different days, except in case of urgency determined by a simple majority of the Representatives present.
Every bill that has been passed by the National Congress shall, within three days after being voted upon, be sent to the executive branch so that it may be given his sanction and he may order it promulgated as law.
A law shall be sanctioned with the following phrase: “Let it therefore be executed”.
Should the executive branch find impediments to the sanction of the bill, it shall return it to the National Congress within ten days with the phrase: “Return to Congress”, and shall explain the grounds on which disagreement is based.
If it does not veto it within the period indicated, the bill shall be considered sanctioned and shall be promulgated as law.
When the executive returns a bill, it shall again be debated in the National Congress, and if it is ratified by a two-thirds vote, it shall again be sent to the executive branch, with this phrase: “Constitutionally ratified” and the executive branch shall publish it without delay.
If the grounds for the veto are that the bill is unconstitutional, it may not be submitted to a new debate until the opinion of the Supreme Court of Justice has been obtained; the Court shall issue its opinion within such period as the National Congress shall specify.
When the National Congress passes a bill at the conclusion of its session and the executive deems it inadvisable to sanction it, the executive is required to give immediate notice to Congress so that it may remain in session for another ten days, calculated from the date on which Congress received the bill, and if the executive does not do so, it shall return the bill within the first eight days of the next session of the Congress.
Sanction shall not be necessary for, nor shall the executive branch be entitled to veto, the following cases and resolutions:
- Elections that the National Congress orders or announces or resignations that it accepts or disapproves;
- Declarations that there are or are not grounds for impeachment;
- Decrees that relate to the conduct of the executive branch;
- Regulations that it issues for its internal procedure;
- Decrees it approves to temporarily transfer its seat to another place in the territory of Honduras or to suspend its sessions or to convene special sessions;
- The budget law;
- Treaties or contracts rejected by the National Congress, and
- Amendments decreed to the Constitution of the Republic, and
- Interpretations that are decreed of the Constitution of the Republic by the National Congress.
In these cases, the executive shall promulgate the law with this phrase: “Now therefore let it be published”.
Whenever a bill that was not introduced at the initiative of the Supreme Court of Justice is intended to amend or repeal any provision contained in the codes of the Republic, it may not be debated without hearing the opinion of that Court.
The Court shall issue its report within the period specified by the National Congress.
This provision does not apply to laws of a political, economic or administrative nature.
No bill rejected wholly or partially may be debated again in the same session of the Congress.
A law is compulsory by virtue of its promulgation and after twenty days have elapsed following completion of its publication in the official journal La Gaceta. Nevertheless, the period mentioned in this article may be reduced or extended in the law itself and, in special cases, another method of promulgation may be ordered.
CHAPTER III. THE SUPERIOR TRIBUNAL OF ACCOUNTS
The Superior Tribunal of Accounts is the governing entity of the system of control of public resources, with functional and administrative autonomy over the powers of the state, subject only to the fulfillment of the Constitution and the laws. It shall be responsible before the National Congress for the acts executed in the exercise of its powers.
The Superior Tribunal of Accounts has an a posteriori role in the funds, property, and resources administered by the powers of state, decentralized and devolved institutions, including the state or mixed banks the National Commission of Banks and Insurance, the municipalities and any special body or public or private entity that receives or administers public resources from internal or external sources.
In the fulfillment of its role it must realize auditing of finances, management and results, founded in efficiency, efficacy, economy, equity, truth, and legality. It is also its responsibility to establish a system of transparency in the management of public servants, the fact-finding on illicit enrichment and auditing of the assets and liabilities, and in general of the wealth of the state. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Superior Tribunal of Accounts shall have the powers determined by its Organic Law.
The Superior Tribunal of Accounts shall be composed of three members elected by the National Congress, with the favorable vote of two thirds of all the Representatives.
The members of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts shall be elected for a period of seven years and may not be re-elected.
The election of the President of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts shall be the responsibility of the National Congress.
In order to be members of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts it is required that:
- One is Honduran by birth;
- One is over 35 years of age;
- One is a citizen in the full exercise of his rights;
- One is of recognized honesty and well-known good conduct, and
- One holds a university degree in the areas of economic, administrative, legal, or financial sciences.
Illicit enrichment is presumed when the growth of wealth of the official or public employee, from the date on which he took office to the on which he left office, is notably larger than what he normally could have obtained in virtue of the salary and remuneration that he legally earned, and from the growth of his wealth or his earning from any other legal cause.
Similarly, illicit enrichment shall be presumed when the public servant does not authorize investigation of his bank deposits and business abroad.
In order to determine the growth referred to in the first paragraph of this article, wealth and earnings of the official or employee, of his spouse and of his children shall be considered.
The declaration of property of officials and public employees shall be made in accordance with the law.
When a public servant is absolved, he shall have the right to reassume his office.
The Superior Tribunal of Accounts must submit to the National Congress, through its President, within the first forty days after the close of the fiscal year, the annual report on its management.
All aspects relating to the organization and operation of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts and its departments shall be determined by its Organic Law.
CHAPTER IV. OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC
The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic shall be the legal representative of the state. Its organization and operation shall be determined by law.
The Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic shall be elected by the National Congress for a term of four years and they may not be reelected for a subsequent period; they must have the same qualifications and shall have the same prerogatives and qualifications as prescribed by this Constitution for Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Civil and criminal actions resulting from the audits of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic shall be instituted by the Attorney General, with the exception of those relating to municipalities, which shall continue to be the responsibility of officials indicated in the law, and in their absence, by the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic.
The state shall appropriate such funds as may be necessary for the proper organization and operation of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic.
All public administration organs shall cooperate with the Attorney General of the Republic in performing his functions in the manner determined by law.
Section I. PUBLIC MINISTRY
The Public Ministry is the specialized professional body responsible for the presentation, defense, and protection of the interests of society, functionally independent from the powers of the state and free from all sectarian political interference. The Public Ministry enjoys administrative, technical, financial and budgetary autonomy, effected in the General Budget of Revenues and Expenditures of the Republic, and shall have an annual gradual allocation until it gains three percent of the current revenues. The executive branch shall authorize the corresponding budgetary line items in anticipation quarterly. The officious exercise of criminal public action is the responsibility of the Public Ministry. In the matters of its competence it shall be exercised by the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic and by individuals in cases where it is their responsibility. The Public Ministry has the responsibility of the coordination, technical and legal direction, and criminal and forensic investigation.
The appointment to the Public Ministry is thus: there shall be a Deputy General Prosecutor, who shall replace the head in the case of his absence, inability, or recusal. These officials shall be elected by the National Congress for a period of five years with the favorable vote of at least two thirds of its members from a nominee pool of five candidates selected by a nominating board, formed by the terms provided for by law.
In order to be General Prosecutor of the Republic and Deputy General Prosecutor the following qualifications are required:
- to be a Honduran by birth;
- to be a citizen in full enjoyment of his rights;
- to be a duly certified lawyer, with distinguished professional experience of more than ten years or to have filled the office of judge in the criminal law for at least ten years;
- to be older than 40 years of age, and
- to have a duly proven record of moral conduct.
Section II. Impeachment
Impeachment of the President of the Republic and Presidential Designates, Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice, Representatives of the National Congress and Central American Parliament, Municipal Corporations and all public servants elected by the National Congress occurs when there is a grave complaint against their performance in office, for having taken actions contrary to the Constitution of the Republic or the national interest and for manifest negligence, inability, or incompetence in the exercise of office. Without prejudice to administrative, civil and criminal liability, the removal of office shall be the sole consequence derived from the liability determined through impeachment.
When the accusation is against the President of the Republic the process of the impeachment and removal must be approved by three fourths of the totality of the Representatives, in the other cases, it shall be by two thirds of the chamber.
The President of the Republic may only be removed from office by the National Congress through impeachment.
The implementation of impeachment and its effects are not subject to judicial review and the decree issued to its effect does not require the sanction of the executive branch.
Impeachment consists of two stages, the investigative stage that shall last for the period established in the Special Law that is issued to its effect and the stage of debate and voting that shall last up to five days, counted from the presentation of the report to the full membership by the Special Commission.
CHAPTER VI. THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
The President of the Republic, and in his absence, the Presidential Designates, shall exercise the executive power on behalf and for the benefit of the people.
The President of the Republic and three Presidential Designates shall be elected jointly and directly by the people by a simple majority of votes. The election shall be announced by the Supreme Elections Tribunal and, in default thereof, by the National Congress or by the Supreme Court of Justice as applicable.
The presidential term shall be four years and shall begin on the 27th day of January following the date on which the election was held.
No person shall be President of the Republic or Presidential Designate unless:
- He is a Honduran by birth;
- He is over 30 years of age;
- He is in the enjoyment of the rights of citizenship, and
- He is a layman.
A citizen who has held the Office of President under any title may not be President or a Presidential Designate.
Any person who violates this provision or advocates its amendment as well as those that directly or indirectly support him shall immediately cease to hold their respective offices and shall be disqualified for ten years from holding any public office.
The following may not be elected President of the Republic:
- The Presidential Designates of the Republic, Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of the Cabinet, Justices of the Supreme Elections Tribunal, Justices and judges of the judicial branch, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Managers, Deputy Managers, Directors, Deputy Directors, Executive Secretaries of decentralized institutions, members of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the Republic, Justices of the Office of the Superior Tribunal of Accounts who have performed their functions during the six months prior to the date of election of the President of the Republic.
- Commanders and general officers of the armed forces;
- Senior officers of the armed forces and the police or state security forces;
- Servicemen on active duty and members of any other armed body that have performed their functions during the previous twelve months prior to the date of the election;
- The spouse and the relatives within the fourth degree of relationship by blood or the second degree of relationship by marriage of the President and the Presidential Designates that have exercised the presidency in the year prior to the election, and
- The representatives or agents of enterprises that are concession holders of the state, the concession holders of the state for the exploitation of natural resources or contractors for services or public works that are financed with national funds and who for those reasons have outstanding accounts with the state.
The President of the Republic, or whoever is performing his functions, may not leave the national territory for more than fifteen days without permission of the National Congress or its Permanent Committee.
In the temporary absences of the President of the Republic, one of the Designates shall replace him in his functions. If the absence of the President is permanent, the Designate elected for that purpose by the National Congress shall exercise the executive power for the time that remains for completion of the constitutional term. But if the three Designates are also permanently absent, the executive power shall be exercised by the President of the National Congress or, in default thereof, by the President of the Supreme Court of Justice for the time that remains for completion of the constitutional period.
If the election of the President and Designates should not be announced one day before the 27th of January, the executive power shall be exercised exceptionally by the Council of Secretaries of the Cabinet, presided over by the Secretary of the Cabinet in the Departments of the Interior and Population. The Council of Secretaries of the Cabinet must convoke elections of the supreme authorities within fifteen days subsequent to that date.
These elections shall take place within a period of not less than four or more than six months from the date of the convocation.
Once the elections have been held, the Supreme Elections Tribunal or, in default thereof, the National Congress or the Supreme Court of Justice, as the case may be, shall make the corresponding announcement within the twenty days subsequent to the date of the election, and the persons elected shall immediately take office until the corresponding constitutional period is completed.
While the newly elected supreme authorities take their respective offices, the Representatives to the National Congress and the Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Municipal Corporations shall continue temporarily to perform their functions for the period that is concluding.
If, at the beginning of the constitutional period for which he has been elected the President does not take office, until he does so the Presidential Designate elected by the National Congress shall exercise the executive power.
The oath required by law of the President of the Republic and Presidential Designates shall be administered before the President of the National Congress, if it is in session, or, in default thereof, before the President of the Supreme Court of Justice.
Should it not be possible to administer the oath before the above-mentioned officials, it may be administered before any judge (juez de letras) or Justice of the Peace of the Republic.
The President of the Republic shall be responsible for the general administration of the state; his powers and duties are as follows:
- To comply with and enforce the Constitution, treaties and conventions, laws and other legal provisions;
- To direct the policies of the state and to represent it;
- To safeguard the independence and honor of the Republic and the integrity and inviolability of the national territory;
- To maintain the peace and internal security of the Republic and to repel every attack or external aggression;
- To freely appoint and dismiss Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of the Cabinet and other officials and employees whose appointment is not assigned to other authorities;
- To convene the National Congress in special sessions through the Permanent Committee or to propose the continuance of regular sessions;
- To restrict or suspend the exercise of rights, in agreement with the Council of Ministers, subject to the provisions of this Constitution;
- To send messages to the National Congress at any time and compulsorily by personal appearance and in writing when each regular legislative session is installed;
- To participate in the enactment of the laws by introducing bills in the National Congress through the Secretaries of the Cabinet;
- To give the legislative and judicial branches and the Supreme Elections Tribunal such assistance and forces as they may need to implement their decisions;
- To issue directives and decrees and to issue regulations and resolutions according to the law;
- To direct foreign policy and relations;
- To conclude treaties and agreements and to ratify, following approval by the National Congress, international treaties of a political and military nature, those relating to the national territory, sovereignty and concessions, those entailing financial obligations for the public treasury, those requiring amendment or repeal of any constitutional or legal provision, and those needing legislative measures for their implementation;
- To appoint, in accordance with the foreign service law to be issued, the heads of diplomatic and consular missions who shall be Honduran by birth except in the case of honorary posts or representations jointly by Honduras with other states;
- To receive the heads of foreign diplomatic missions and representatives of international organizations; to issue and withdraw the exequatur from consuls of other states;
- To exercise command over the armed forces as the commander-in-chief and to adopt the necessary measures for the defense of the Republic;
- To declare war and make peace during a recess of the National Congress, which must be convened immediately;
- Generally to watch over the official behavior of public officials and employees for the security and prestige of the government and of the state;
- To administer the public treasury;
- To adopt special economic and financial measures when the national interest so requires and to give an account thereof to the National Congress;
- To negotiate loans and conclude their contracts following approval by the National Congress when appropriate;
- To draw up the National Development Plan, discuss it in the Council of Ministers, submit it to the National Congress for approval, direct it and execute it;
- To regulate customs tariffs according to law;
- To pardon and commute sentences according to law;
- To confer awards according to law;
- To see to it that the revenues of the state are collected and to regulate their investment according to law;
- To publish each quarter a statement of revenue and expenditures of public revenue;
- To organize, direct, orient and promote public education, eradicate illiteracy, and disseminate and improve technical education;
- To adopt measures for the promotion, recovery and rehabilitation of the health of the population and the prevention of disease;
- To direct the economic and financial policy of the state;
- To exercise supervision and control of banking institutions, insurance companies, and investment houses through the National Commission of Banks and Insurance, whose membership and operation shall be governed by a special law, and to appoint the President and Vice Presidents of the state banks according to law;
- To prescribe all such measures and provisions as may be feasible to promote the rapid execution of the agrarian reform and the development of production, and productivity in rural areas;
- To sanction, veto, promulgate and publish any laws approved by the National Congress;
- To direct and support the policy of economic and social integration, both national and international, aimed at improving the living conditions of the Honduran people;
- To maintain, and eliminate public services and take such measures as may be necessary for the good operation thereof;
- To confer military ranks from second lieutenant to captain, inclusive;
- To safeguard that the armed forces are apolitical, essentially professional, and obedient, and non-deliberative;
- To issue and cancel naturalization papers authorized by the executive branch according to law;
- To award pensions, bonuses, and allowances according to law;
- To confer legal status on civil organizations according to law;
- To ensure harmony between capital and labor;
- To revise and fix the minimum wage according to law;
- To permit or deny, following authorization by the National Congress, the transit through Honduran territory of troops of another country;
- To permit, following authorization by the National Congress, the departure of Honduran troops to render services in foreign territory, in accordance with international treaties and conventions for operations for the maintenance of peace, and
- Such other powers and duties as are conferred on him by the Constitution and the laws.
CHAPTER VII. OFFICES OF THE SECRETARIES OF THE CABINET
The Secretaries of the Cabinet are bodies of the general administration of the country and are directly dependent on the President of the Republic.
The law shall determine their number, organization, responsibilities, and functioning as well as the organization, responsibilities, and functioning of the Council of Ministers.
The Secretaries of the Cabinet shall cooperate with the President of the Republic in orienting, coordinating, directing and supervising the organs and agencies of the national public administration in their areas of jurisdiction.
The decrees, regulations, directives, orders and executive acts of the President of the Republic must be authorized by the Secretaries of the Cabinet in their respective areas of jurisdiction or by the Deputy Secretaries, as the case may be. If this requirement is not met, they shall not have legal force.
The Secretaries of the Cabinet and the Deputy Secretaries shall be jointly responsible with the President of the Republic for any acts they authorize.
The ministers present shall be responsible for decisions taken in the Council of Ministers unless they have given grounds for their dissenting votes.
No person may be Secretary or Deputy Secretary unless he meets the requirements given in numbers 1), 3), and 4) of article 238 of this Constitution and is also older than twenty-five years of age. The Deputy Secretaries shall replace the Secretaries by operation of law.
The following may not be Secretaries or Deputy Secretaries of the Cabinet:
- The relatives of the President of the Republic, within the fourth degree of relationship by blood and the second degree of relationship by marriage;
- Persons who have administered or collected public securities until the solvency of their account has been settled;
- Delinquent debtors to the public treasury;
- Concession holders of the state, their agents or representatives for the exploitation of natural resources or contractors of any services and public works that are financed with state funds and who for those reasons have accounts pending with it.
The National Congress may summon the Secretaries of the Cabinet and these must answer any questions put to them concerning matters relating to public administration.
The President of the Republic convokes and presides over the Council of Ministers. All decisions of the Council shall be taken by simple majority and, in the event of a tie, the President shall have a deciding vote.
The Council shall meet at the initiative of the President to take decisions on all matters he may deem to be of national importance and to consider such cases as are specified by law.
The Secretary of the Cabinet in the Office of the President shall act as Secretary of the Council.
The holding of another public post is incompatible with the Office of Secretary of the Cabinet except when the laws assign him other functions. The rules, prohibitions and penalties established in articles 203 and 204 are applicable to the Secretaries of the Cabinet where appropriate.
The Secretaries of the Cabinet must submit annually to the National Congress within the first fifteen days of its installation a report on the work done in their respective departments.
The administrative acts of any organ of the State that are to have general legal effects shall be published in the official journal La Gaceta and their validity shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution for the coming into force of law.
CHAPTER VIII. THE CIVIL SERVICE
The civil service system regulates the employment and public service relations established between the State and its servants, based on the principles of competence, efficiency and honesty. Personnel administration shall be subject to scientific methods based on the merit system.
The State shall protect its servants within the administrative career.
The law shall regulate the civil service and in particular conditions for entering the public administration; promotions and advancement based on merit and aptitude; job security, transfers, suspensions and guarantees; the duties of public servants and reviewability against decisions that affect them.
Both in the central government and in any of the decentralized agencies of the State, no person may hold at the same time two or more remunerated public offices except those rendering relief in medical care or educational services.
No official, employee or public worker that receives a regular salary shall receive a per diem allowance for the provision of a service in performance of his duties.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to officials and employees of decentralized and municipal institutions.
CHAPTER IX. DECENTRALIZED INSTITUTIONS
Decentralized institutions may be established only by special law, provided the following are guaranteed:
- Greater efficiency in the administration of the national interests;
- The satisfaction of mass public service needs on a nonprofit basis;
- Greater effectiveness in achieving the purposes of the public administration;
- Economic and administrative justification of the cost of their operation, of the expected yield or benefit or, where appropriate, of the expected savings;
- Exclusiveness of the field, so that their establishment does not entail duplication with other already existing organs of the public administration;
- The utilization and exploitation of property or resources belonging to the state; the participation of the state in those areas of economic activities that it considers necessary and advisable for achieving its purposes of social progress and general welfare, and
- The general legal regime of the decentralized institutions will be established by the means of the general law of public administration to be issued.
To establish or suppress a decentralized agency, the National Congress shall decide by the vote of two thirds of its members.
Prior to the issuance of laws relating to decentralized institutions, the National Congress must seek the opinion of the executive branch.
The decentralized institutions enjoy functional and administrative independence and for that purpose may issue such regulations as are necessary according to law.
The decentralized institutions shall operate under the direction and supervision of the State and their chairmen, directors or managers shall be accountable for their activities. The law shall stipulate the necessary mechanisms for the control of decentralized institutions.
The following may not be chairmen, general managers, or directors general of decentralized institutions: the spouses and the relatives of the President of the Republic and Presidential Designates, within the fourth degree of relationship by blood or the second degree of relationship by marriage.
The chairmen, directors general and managers of decentralized agencies of the state shall have a term of office of four years and their mode of appointment and removal shall be in accordance with the respective laws establishing them.
Officials who in any capacity exercise directive functions of decentralized agencies shall be officials of trust of the executive branch but the employment relations of the other employees of these institutions shall be regulated by the legal regime applicable to workers in general. The methods, content and scope of these regimes shall be governed by the pertinent laws, regulations and collective agreements.
The decentralized institutions shall submit to the central government the plan of operations for the fiscal year concerned, accompanied by a narrative and analytical report of each of the basic specific activities to be carried out, together with a comprehensive budget for the execution of the plan concerned.
The Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of Finance and the Technical Secretary of Planning and External Cooperation shall separately prepare opinions for the purpose of determining the consistency of such documents with the approved development plans.
Once they are approved by the President of the Republic, the opinions shall be sent to the decentralized institutions concerned.
The governing bodies of the decentralized institutions shall not approve the plan or the annual budget until the changes proposed in the opinion concerned have been incorporated into them.
The decentralized agencies of the State shall send to the legislative branch within the first fifteen days of the month of September each year, the respective annual itemized preliminary draft budgets for approval.
The decentralized institutions must submit to the central government a detailed report on the net results of the financial activities of their prior fiscal year.
Likewise, they must submit a report on the physical and financial progress of all the programs and projects being executed.
The Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of Finance and the Technical Secretary of Planning and External Cooperation shall evaluate the results of the work of each decentralized agency and shall make such observations and recommendations as they deem pertinent.
The executive branch may, through the corresponding channel, dispose of the net profits of the decentralized institutions that carry on economic activities, when they do not affect the development of those institutions or the execution of their priority programs or projects.
The law shall specify the contracts that must be submitted to public bidding by decentralized institutions.
Any substantial change in the plan of operations and the budget of a decentralized institution shall previously require a favorable opinion from the Technical Secretary of Planning and External Cooperation and from the Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of Finance.
CHAPTER X. THE NATIONAL DEFENSE
The armed forces of Honduras are a permanent, essentially professional, apolitical, obedient and non-deliberative national institution.
They are established to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic, to maintain peace, the rule of the Constitution, the principles of free suffrage and alternation in the exercise of the office of the President of the Republic.
They shall cooperate with the National Police in the conservation of the Public Order.
In order to guarantee the free exercise of suffrage, the custody, transportation, and guarding of the electoral materials, and other aspects of the security of the process, the President of the Republic shall put the Armed Forces at the disposition of the Supreme Elections Tribunal beginning one month before the elections until the declaration of the result of the same.
The armed forces shall comprise the high command, army, air force, navy, and the agencies determined by the law establishing them.
The armed forces shall be subject to the provisions of the law establishing them and of the other laws and regulations governing their operation. They shall cooperate with the Secretaries of the Cabinet and other institutions at the order of the same in the tasks of literacy training, education, agriculture, protection of the environment, highways, communications, health, and agrarian reform.
They shall participate in international peace missions, based on international treaties and shall lend logistical support of technical assistance in communications and transportation, fighting against drug trafficking, and shall collaborate with personnel and means to face natural disasters and emergency situations that affect people and property as well as in programs of protection and conservation of the ecosystem, academic education and technical training of their members and others of national interest.
They shall also cooperate with public security institutions at the request of the Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of Security to combat terrorism, trafficking of arms and organized crime, as well as in the protection of the powers of the state and the Supreme Elections Tribunal, at the request of the same, in their installation and operation.
A special law shall regulate the operation of the military courts.
Citizens between the age of eighteen and thirty shall lend military service in a voluntary form in times of peace, under the form of an educative, social, humanistic and democratic system. The State has the ability to use the draft in accordance with the Law of Military Service.
In the event of an international war, all Hondurans capable of defending and rendering service to the nation shall be soldiers.
The President of the Republic shall exercise the direct command of the Armed Forces in his character as Commander-in-Chief in accordance with this Constitution, the law establishing the Armed Forces and the other applicable laws.
Orders given by the President of the Republic must be obeyed and executed with adherence to the Constitution of the Republic and to the principles of legality, discipline, and military professionalism.
The Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of National Defense shall be the citizen who possesses the requirements given by this Constitution and the other laws; the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces shall be a general or superior officer, with the grade of colonel of the army or its equivalent, in active service with merits and leadership, Honduran by birth, and shall possess the requirements determined by law. A relative of the President of the Republic or of his legal substitutes within the fourth degree of relationship by blood or the second by marriage may not be the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces.
The Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of National Defense shall be appointed or removed freely by the President of the Republic. In equal manner, shall be the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces, who shall be selected by the President of the Republic, between the members that form the Board of Commanders of the Armed Forces in accordance with that established by the hierarchy of officers, prescribed in the law that establishes the Armed Forces.
In the event of temporary absence of the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the armed forces, the Deputy Chief shall perform his duties, and if the Deputy Chief is also absent or the office is vacant, the general officer or superior chosen by the President of the Republic from the remaining members of the Board of Commanders shall perform his duties provisionally. In the absence of all of the above, the general officer or superior with the grade of Colonel of the army or its equivalent, shall be chosen by the President.
In the case of the permanent absence of the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces, the President of the Republic shall make the respective appointments in the terms provided in articles 279 and 280 of this Constitution. While the appointment of the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces takes place, the officer of the Armed Forces who is performing his duties shall fill the vacancy.
The appointments and removals of personnel from the Armed Forces, in the administrative area shall be made in accordance with the law of public administration.
In the operational area, the appointments and removals shall be made by the Chief of the Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces, in accordance with the organic structure of the Armed Forces, in accordance with its establishing law, and the other legal provisions in force, including the personnel of troops and aids.
The Joint Superior Council of the Armed Forces is the superior technical body of counsel, planning, coordination and supervision, dependent on the Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of National Defense and shall have the functions assigned by the law establishing the armed forced.
The territory of the Republic shall be divided into military regions for reasons of defense and national security and each shall be in the charge of a chief of military region. Its organization and operation shall be in accordance with the provided in the law establishing the armed forces.
The Board of Commanders of the Armed Forces is the consultative organ in all matters relating to that institution. It shall act as the decision-making organ in matters within its jurisdiction and as the Superior Court of the Armed Forces in matters submitted to its cognizance. The law establishing the armed forces and their regulation shall regulate its operation.
The Board of Commanders of the Armed Forces shall be formed by the Chief of the Joint Superior Council, who shall preside over it, the Deputy Chief of the Joint Superior Council, the Inspector General and the Commanders of Force.
The National Council on Defense and Security is hereby created; a special law shall regulate its organization and operation.
Candidates to be officers in the armed forces shall be educated at a higher level in military training centers. Training centers shall be organized for the arms and services in accordance with the needs of the institution.
Technical schools for training shall also be organized in accordance with the motivation of voluntary, educational, social, humanistic, and democratic military service.
The National Defense College is established as the highest seat of learning of the armed forces, responsible for the training of select military and civilian personnel so that they may participate jointly in the national strategic planning in the political, economic, social and military fields.
Military ranks are acquired only by strict promotion in accordance with the respective law.
Military personnel may not be deprived of their ranks, honors or pensions except as provided for by law.
Promotions from second lieutenant to captain, inclusive, shall be conferred by the President of the Republic on the proposal of the Secretary of the Cabinet in the Department of National Defense; promotions from major to General of Division, inclusive, shall be conferred by the National Congress on the proposal of the executive branch.
The Joint Supreme Council of the Armed Forces shall issue an opinion prior to conferring promotions of officers.
For the protection, welfare and security of all the members of the armed forces, the Institute of Military Welfare, a body that shall be headed by the Chief of the Joint Supreme Council and in accordance with the previsions of the law of the Institute of Military Welfare shall operate.
The manufacture, import, distribution and sale of arms, ammunition and similar articles is reserved as an exclusive right of the armed forces.
The National Police is a permanent professional institution of the state, apolitical in the partisan sense, of a permanent civil nature, charged with safeguarding the preservation of the public order, prevention, control, and fighting crime, protecting the safety of people and their property; to execute the resolutions, provisions, orders, and legal decisions of the authorities and public officials, all with strict respect for human rights.
The National Police shall be ruled by special legislation.
CHAPTER XI. THE DEPARTMENTAL AND MUNICIPAL SYSTEM
The national territory shall be divided into departments. Their establishment and boundaries shall be determined by the National Congress.
The departments shall be divided into autonomous municipalities administered by corporations elected by the people, according to law.
Without prejudice to that established in the previous paragraphs, the National Congress may create zones subject to special regimes in accordance with Article 329 of this Constitution.
The central district consists of a single municipality made up of the former municipalities of Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela.
The law shall establish the organization and operation of the municipalities and the requirements for being a municipal official or employee.
The municipalities shall freely appoint the employees under their authority including the police officers paid with their own funds.
In the performance of their exclusive functions and provided they are not contrary to the law, the municipal corporations shall be independent of the state powers and shall be accountable to the courts of justice for abuses committed individually or collectively, without prejudice to administrative liability.
The economic and social development of the municipalities must form part of the national development programs.
Every municipality shall have sufficient communal land (tierras ejidales) to ensure its existence and normal development.
Taxes and contributions levied on income derived from investments made in the respective municipality, as well as the participation incumbent upon it for the exploitation or processing of the natural resources located in its municipal jurisdiction, shall be paid into the municipal treasury, except where reasons of national expediency require them to be used for other purposes.
For the exclusive purposes of ensuring the improvement and development of the communities, citizens shall be entitled to freely associate themselves in civic associations, to establish federations or confederations. The law shall regulate this entitlement.
CHAPTER XII. THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
The power to dispense justice emanates from the people and is administered free of charge on behalf of the state by independent justices and judges, subject only to the Constitution and the laws. The judicial branch consists of a Supreme Court of Justice, the Courts of Appeals, the courts, by tribunals with exclusive competence in zones of the country subject to special regimes created by the Constitution of the Republic and additional offices specified by law.
No trial shall have more than two instances, the judge or justice that has exercised jurisdiction in one of them may not hear the other, nor in the appeal of the same matter, without incurring liability.
They also may not judge in the case of spouses and relatives within the fourth degree through blood relation or the second through marriage.
It is the responsibility of the judicial bodies to apply the laws to specific cases, to judge and execute the judgment. They may never create exceptional judicial bodies. This provision has an exception for the judicial courts of the Special Development Regions. The judges of these courts shall be appointed by the National Congress by a majority of two thirds of the total membership, at the proposal of the authorities of the administration of the Special Development Region in question.
Once their intervention has been requested legally and in matters of their competence, judges and justices may not avoid judging under the pretext of silence or unclearness of the laws.
The judicial bodies shall require, in necessary cases, the aid of the Public Forces for the fulfillment of their orders; if this is denied or it is not available, they may demand it of the citizens.
He who without justification refuses to give aid shall incur liability.
The law, without lessening the independence of the judges and justices, shall dispose that which is necessary to ensure the correct and normal functioning of the judicial bodies, providing efficient means to attend to their functional and administrative needs, as well as the organization of their auxiliary services.
The Supreme Court of Justice is the highest judicial body, its jurisdiction encompasses the entire territory of the state and it has its seat in the capital, but may change it temporarily when it so determines, to any other part of the territory. The Supreme Court of Justice shall be composed of fifteen justices.
Its decisions shall be made by the majority of its full membership.
In order to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of Justice, one is required:
- To be Honduran by birth.
- To be a citizen in the enjoyment and exercise of his rights.
- To be an Attorney-Notary duly registered.
- To be over thirty-five years of age, and
- To have presided over a judicial body for five years, or to have exercised the profession for ten years.
Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice may not be elected who:
- Have any of the disqualifiers to be a Secretary of the Cabinet, and
- The spouses and relatives of others to the fourth degree of relation by blood or to the second by marriage.
The Justices of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be elected by the National Congress, with the favorable vote of two thirds of its total membership, from a nominee pool of candidates of no less than three for each one of the justices to be elected.
Once the proposal with the totality of the Justices has been presented, it shall proceed to election.
If it does not receive the majority required for the election of the complete nomination of Justices, direct and secret voting shall take effect to individually elect the justices that are lacking, as many times as necessary, until achieving the favorable vote of two thirds.
Justices shall be elected from a nominee pool of candidates proposed by a Nominating Board, which shall be formed in the following manner:
- A Representative of the Supreme Court of Justice elected by the favorable vote of two thirds of the Justices.
- A Representative of the College of Lawyers of Honduras, elected in Assembly
- The National Commissioner of Human Rights
- A representative of the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise (COHEP), elected in Assembly;
- A Representative of the faculty of professors of the School of Judicial Sciences, whose proposal shall take effect through the National Autonomous University of Honduras
- A Representative elected by the organizations of civil society, and
- A Representative of the Confederations of Workers.
A law shall regulate the organization and operation of the Nominating Board.
The organizations that form the Nominating Boards shall be convoked by the President of the National Congress, no later than the 31st of October of the year prior to the election of the Justices, and he must submit his proposal to the Permanent Committee of the National Congress on the 23rd of January at the latest, in order to hold the election on the 25th of January.
If once the Nominating Board has been convoked it does not make proposals, the National Congress shall proceed to the election through a majority characterized by its full membership.
The Supreme Court of Justice shall have the following duties and powers:
- To direct the judicial branch in the power of imparting justice.
- To take cognizance of trials initiated against the highest officials of state and the Representatives
- To take cognizance in the second instance of matters that the Appellate Courts have taken cognizance of in the first instance.
- To take cognizance of cases of extradition and others that must be judged in accordance with international law
- To take cognizance of writs of habeas corpus, habeas data, cassation, amparo, review, and unconstitutionality in accordance with the Constitution and the law
- To authorize the exercise of the Notary for those who have obtained the title of lawyer.
- To take cognizance at first instance of the preliminary trial against the Justices of the Appellate Courts
- To issue its internal regulations and others that are necessary for the fulfillment of its functions
- Any others conferred upon it by the Constitution and the law
- To elaborate the project of budgeting of the judicial branch jointly with the Council of the Judiciary and Judicial Career, and to send it to the President of the National Congress.
- To fix the judicial division of the territory
- To create, abolish, combine, or transfer the Courts, Appellate Courts, and other dependencies with prior favorable judgment of the Council of the Judiciary and the judicial career.
The term of the Justice of the Supreme Court of Justice shall be seven years beginning at the date on which they take oath, and they may be re-elected.
In the case of death, disability that impedes the exercise of office, substitution for legal reasons or resignation, the Justice that fills the vacancy shall occupy the office for the rest of the term and shall be elected by the National Congress through the favorable vote of two thirds of the total membership. The substitute shall be elected from the remaining candidates proposed by the Nominating Board at the beginning of the term.
The Supreme Court of Justice shall fulfill its constitutional and legal functions under the presidency of one of its Justices.
To choose the President of the Court, the Justices elected by the National Congress, all meeting together, shall select no later than twenty-four hours after their election and by the favorable vote of two thirds of their members, the Justice whose name shall be proposed to the National Congress of the Republic for his election to that position.
This election shall be held in the same way with the vote of two thirds of the total membership of the National Congress.
The President of the Supreme Court of Justice shall hold his office for a period of seven years and may be re-elected.
The President of the Supreme Court of Justice shall exercise representation of the judicial branch and in this character shall act in accordance with the decisions made by the full court.
The Supreme Court of Justice is organized in chambers, one of which is the Constitutional, formed by five Justices. When the decisions of the chambers are pronounced by unanimity of votes, they must be put forth in the name of the Supreme Court of Justice and have decisive character. When there is not unanimity in making the decision on the matter, the justices who have participated in the chamber may not be included in the full court.
The constitutional chamber has the following powers and duties:
- To take cognizance of, in accordance with this Constitution and the law, of writs of habeas corpus or personal appearance, habeas data, amparo, unconstitutionality, and review, and
- To resolve conflicts between the powers of state, including the Supreme Elections Tribunal, as well as between the other entities and bodies indicated by law. The decisions in which unconstitutionality of a law is declared are of immediate execution and have general effect, and abrogate the unconstitutional law, and must be communicated to the National Congress, which shall make it published in the official journal La Gaceta. The regulations shall establish the organization and operation of the chambers.
The Council of the Judiciary and the Judicial Career are hereby created, whose members, organization, domain, and powers and duties shall be the subject of a law, which shall be approved by two thirds of the favorable vote of the full membership of the Representatives of the National Congress.
The judges and justices may not be dismissed, suspended, transferred, demoted, nor retired unless with cause and with the guarantees provided for in the law.
The term of the members of the Council of the Judiciary and the Judicial Career shall be five years and they may be re-elected for one additional term, and must give their service full-time and exclusively. There shall be an exception for the members of the Council who are part of the Supreme Court of Justice who shall act during the period for which they were elected.
The law shall determine its organization, domain, and responsibilities and powers.
The judicial branch shall enjoy complete administrative and financial autonomy. In the General Budget of Revenues and Expenditures of the Republic it shall have an annual allocation of no less than three percent of the current revenues.
The executive branch shall approve, quarterly and in advance, the appropriate budgetary line items.
The judges and justices shall lend their services exclusively to the judicial branch. Consequently, they may not exercise the profession of law independently, nor give counsel or legal assistance to any person. This prohibition does not encompass the fulfillment of teaching roles nor of ad-hoc diplomatic functions.
The judicial officials and the auxiliary personnel of the judicial branch, or the judicial and administrative areas may not participate for any reason in partisan activities of any kind, except to cast their personal votes. They also may not unionize or declare themselves to be on strike.
In the case of the incompatibility between a constitutional law and an ordinary legal one, the former shall be applied.
CHAPTER XIII. THE LIABILITY OF THE STATE AND OF ITS SERVANTS
The servants of the state shall have no powers other than those expressly conferred on them by law. Any act they execute outside the law is null and void and entails liability.
On taking up his post all public officials shall take the following legal oath: “I promise to be faithful to the Republic, to comply with and enforce the Constitution and laws.”
The officials are the repositories of authority, legally responsible for their official conduct, subject to the law and never above it.
No official or employee, civil or military, is required to fulfill unlawful orders or orders that entail the commission of an offense.
If in the performance of his duties a public servant infringes the law to the detriment of private individuals, he shall be civilly and jointly liable together with the State and the state institution in whose service he is working, without prejudice to the recovery action that these may institute against the servant responsible, in cases of negligence or fraud.
Civil liability does not exclude the institution of administrative and penal liability proceedings against the offender.
Civil liability proceedings against servants of the State prescribe in a period of ten years; penal liability proceedings, in twice the time indicated by the penal law.
In both cases, the period of prescription shall run from the date on which the public servant has ceased to perform the duties of the post in which he became liable.
There is no period of limitation in cases in which the death of one or more persons was caused by willful act or omission and for political reasons.
The action to prosecute violators of the rights or guarantees established in this Constitution may be instituted by any person without bond or any formality and by simple denunciation.
The law shall regulate the civil liability of the State, as well as the joint civil, penal and administrative liability of servants of the State.